Top 19 of 2019

December 29, 2019 4 By Audrey

What a great birding year! I saw 183 life birds and had so many memorable experiences. Here are 19 highlights (mostly) in order of appearance:

19. Birding by bike with Tomas for a Multnomah County Harlequin Duck at Eagle Creek in the gorge.

18. That day it snowed at Whitaker Ponds.

17. 5MR birding! All 193 species, especially that Palm Warbler in January. And birding by bike with Eric, exploring new and old sloughs getting excited about finding a White-breasted Nuthatch, Hairy Woodpecker, and Wood Ducks. And finding a 5MR Tufted Duck.

16. Friendly homeowners hosting great birds like a Blue Jay in Bend, Hooded Oriole at Seaside, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak I saw with Courtney in Corvallis.

15. Birding in Arizona with Sarah and Max! There are so many good birds in Arizona and finding that Elegant Trogon was such an amazing moment.

14. After Arizona chasing and finding my first lifer in Oregon of the year, a Chestnut-collared Longspur.

13. Giving Yamhill County birding a go and being rewarded with an American Dipper nest, a Harris’s Sparrow, and my first look (albeit through the windshield) at a Mountain Quail.

12. Who could forget the 5MR Vesper Sparrow-American Avocet combo at Broughton Beach?

11. Lincoln County birding with my dad, finding my 200th county bird (American Dipper), and seeing an obliging Northern Pygmy-Owl.

10. The best 5MR day when Tomas and I found Western Screech Owls! (Tomas’s photo).

9. Birding the (kind of crappy) park outside my work office and finding surprisingly good birds like a Say’s Phoebe and a Chipping Sparrow. (I added 21 species to the hotspot this year!)

8. Canada. Blackpoll Warbler, Black Swifts, Boreal Chickadee. Need I say more?

7. Chasing the Red-headed Woodpecker in Oregon! 4th state record, this one found by my friend Kayla McCurry.

6. California. My first out-of-state pelagic, and one step closer to seeing all the woodpeckers in North America after this sweet Nuttall’s Woodpecker.

5. Chasing a Hudsonian Godwit at Fern Ridge in Eugene. It didn’t make it to a post, but it was fun and as my last lifer in Oregon this year, it gets a spot on the list.

4. My double Parasitic Jaeger sighting at Broughton Beach in September.

3. Panama! Hanging with my mom, motmots, manakins, and potoos of this big amazing world.

2. The Evening Grosbeak that showed up in the yard on my birthday.

1. And recently, a Rustic Bunting at Cape Disappointment in Washington. It is a “very rare visitor from Eurasia” and probably the rarest bird I’ve seen after that Swallow-tailed Gull. I saw the bunting twice, and was not disappointed either time.

Honorable Mentions: All the birds found by Colby Neuman: a Ruff at Vanport, Sagebrush Sparrow at Swigert Rd, and so many more. The Common Tern and Sabine’s Gull at Broughton Beach. That sunny Oregon pelagic. All the pika this summer (showing Sarah her first pika!). Clark’s Nutcrackers and a Northern Pygmy-Owl on Larch Mountain. And as always, dipping on ptarmigan with Jen. Such good times.

That’s pretty much my year in a nutshell! Next year I’d like to explore new counties and new places. Get to Malheur county. See Oregon lifers (Greater Sage-Grouse, Flammulated Owl, Pine Grosbeak). And I hope to see a Red-cockaded Woodpecker in North Carolina.

Looking forward to seeing what birds 2020 has to bring!

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey